Press Releases

Rep. Roybal-Allard Helps Introduce American Hope Act to Protect Immigrant Youth and DACA Recipients

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Washington, July 28, 2017 | Ben Soskin ((202) 225-1766) | comments
Today, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) gave remarks at a U.S. Capitol press conference introducing the American Hope Act of 2017, a bill creating a path to permanent legal status and eventual citizenship for those covered under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and certain others who also arrived in the U.S. as children.  The bill would give immigrants who arrived in the U.S. before their 18th birthday and before December 31, 2016, an opportunity to apply for legal status if they meet certain requirements.  If approved, they would receive a form of conditional legal status (Conditional Permanent Resident status, or CPR) that would allow them to live and work here legally for three years and then apply for Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) status.  For those who currently have DACA, their time in DACA counts towards time in CPR status so that they would move forward more quickly.  The American Hope Act was introduced by Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez (IL-04) and 117 co-sponsors, including Congresswoman Roybal-Allard.

"When DACA participants signed up for the program, they were assured their information would not be used against them – that it was an opportunity to come out of the shadows, put anxieties behind them and focus on their future, and continue their studies and work legally in our economy.  It would be the very definition of cruelty to take that away from them now," said Congresswoman Roybal-Allard, the ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee and the co-chair of the Women's Working Group on Immigration Reform.  "The American Hope Act of 2017 is a stopgap measure to protect DACA beneficiaries and all qualifying DREAMers brought to the US as children.  It will give them the opportunity to apply for conditional permanent resident status, subsequent lawful permanent resident status, and ultimately citizenship.  I can think of nothing more compelling than helping these individuals who find themselves in such dire circumstances through no fault of their own."

In addition to Congressmembers Roybal-Allard and Gutiérrez, the speakers at today’s press conference included House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA-12), House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD-05), House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (NY-14), Congressional Hispanic Caucus First Vice Chair Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Ranking Member on House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Chair Judy Chu (CA-27), Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03), Congressman Ruben Kihuen (NV-04), and, representing the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressman Marc Veasey (TX-33).

The press conference was livestreamed, and can be viewed via Facebook at http://bit.ly/2w7L4nQ or via YouTube at https://youtu.be/sRBvTIpHwsY.

The American Hope Act of 2017 bill text: http://bit.ly/2v4EsK7 (pdf)

A summary of the American Hope Act of 2017: http://bit.ly/2uJRDgX (pdf)

The “Dear Colleague” letter on the bill, sent to Democratic Offices by Congressmembers Lofgren, Roybal-Allard, Gutiérrez, and Lujan Grisham: http://bit.ly/2h9SIeK (pdf)

Congresswoman Roybal-Allard’s remarks from today’s press conference, as prepared for delivery, are below.

I am proud to stand with my colleagues to introduce the American Hope Act.  The introduction of this bill is just one more example of efforts to protect the millions of DREAMers, throughout our country, who in every way are American, except for their immigration status. 

In the nearly 25 years I have served in Congress, I have been committed to fixing our broken immigration system and helping those who today we call DREAMers.  But no one has been more passionate or committed to this cause than my colleagues Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren and my classmate Congressman Luis Gutiérrez.

We are here because America’s broken immigration system is at a critical juncture.  The president’s malignant anti-immigrant actions and rhetoric have poisoned the well.  They have undermined bipartisan efforts to bridge differences and find common ground to protect DACA recipients and qualified DREAMers from deportation to a country they have never known or don’t remember.

When DACA participants signed up for the program, they were assured their information would not be used against them – that it was an opportunity to come out of the shadows, put anxieties behind them and focus on their future, and continue their studies and work legally in our economy.  It would be the very definition of cruelty to take that away from them now.

DACA recipients are in danger that this administration will betray the trust they put in our government.  Interior arrests of non-criminals are up 157 percent over the last year, and they are having tragic consequences for individuals, families, and communities all over our nation.

The trauma being inflicted throughout the country cannot be overstated, and DACA recipients and DREAMers are not immune.  The only solution to our broken immigration system is comprehensive immigration reform.

In the meantime, the American Hope Act of 2017 is a stopgap measure to protect DACA beneficiaries and all qualifying DREAMers brought to the US as children.  It will give them the opportunity to apply for conditional permanent resident status, subsequent lawful permanent resident status, and ultimately citizenship.  I can think of nothing more compelling than helping these individuals who find themselves in such dire circumstances through no fault of their own.

The president has said he will be the one to decide if DACA continues.  Based on his current record, there is no guarantee his decision will be favorable.

I hope my Republican colleagues will sponsor this bill and other worthy efforts.  And I hope we can find middle ground that protects our borders and reflects our American values in a way that acknowledges the difficult plight faced by DREAMers and immigrant families.  We have to start somewhere, and I can think of no better place than with our DREAMers who are American in every way except for their immigration status.


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